Stonecoast MFA in Creative Writing

Poetry in a Multi-Genre Program

Poetry in a Multi-Genre Program:


Sometimes during a Stonecoast residency I like to walk through the Stone House while presentations are in session and listen to the incredible richness and variety of ideas about writing being discussed there. 

Having devoted my life to poetry in all its manifestations, I have made every effort to shape the Stonecoast poetry curriculum to the highest standards.  I can't think of a more balanced, thorough, and inspiring program of classes, readings, and individual work leading towards an MFA degree in poetry writing. 

Yet even so, I have found some of my most exciting and inspiring Stonecoast moments occurring not only in working with our program's brilliant poetry faculty and students, but with writers from other genres also.

There was the time I watched a team consisting of a poet and a nonfiction writer dissect the prose of the great novelist James Baldwin.  I learned something new and exciting about the possibilities of poetic syntax from that encounter.

Then there was the time I listened in on a presentation on scene-setting taught by an award-winning fiction writer and screenwriter, and realized not only that this was a uniquely astute perspective on scene, but that everything I was learning applied to poetry. 

And then there was the time I was talking with one of our popular fiction faculty and realized that this faculty member's writing experience yielded an invaluable understanding of the potential role of epic poetry.

Whether it is a cross-genre writer exploring the boundaries between lyric fiction and prose poetry in literary publishing, or nonfiction students sharing the insights learned by organizing an essay according to the shape of a villanelle, it is clear to me now that writers in the other genres contribute irreplaceable depth and complexity to a Stonecoast education in poetry